Monday, November 29, 2010

Fake It 'til You Make It

**As you can see, PLPT is undergoing a makeover!  Bear with us as we continue to post while we're under construction.**


The world is governed more by appearance than realities so that it is fully as necessary to seem to know something as to know it. ~Daniel Webster

How many times have you given up on an endeavor because it seemed too complicated?  Not only have I given up, but sadly I can recall many times where I have not even started.  We don't want to expose what we don't know, right?  We don't want step out of our comfort zones into the unfamiliar.  We are afraid of the risks, so we psyche ourselves out of the rewards.
All of us have different goals, but we should all foster an approach that is creative and fearless. Look at it this way, you may not be a professional in your field of choice just yet, but you CAN learn to be a professional researcher, question-asker, networker, and all around go-getter.  You CAN become skillful in the art of making things happen, and this alone can catapult your confidence and stature.  Who cares if you don't know all the technical aspects if you have the vision and the determination to make the dream come to life? 
Don't know how to "fake it"?  The whole idea is to exude the confidence and importance of someone who is already doing what you are setting out to do.  Act like, think like, talk like you mean business, even if you are just fact finding and exploring.  Get ready to be adventurous and try the following tactics: 
*Be aggressive with your pursuit of information and tell people what it is that you want to do.  Learn how to sell yourself . When people ask me what I do for a living, I tell them about my day job; then I speak with passion and purpose about what I'm working towards outside of that. 

*Find a mentor or expert who can be a resource for you.  Through social networking and blogging, you can have access to people that normally would be hard to reach.  If an expert in your field has a blog, follow it and share thoughtful comments on a regular basis.  Stalk Follow them on twitter.  Build a relationship until you feel it's appropriate to ask them to review your business plan, art, writing, whatever.

*Join organizations to connect with people of similar intention.  Go to conferences.  Take business cards even if you don't officially have a business yet.  Work with what you have.  Bring your ideas and your energy and get people interested in you while absorbing the knowledge and advice that is available. 

*Create opportunities.  Volunteer your time.  Start a blog.  Start a committee at work that allows you to specialize in the area you want to develop.  Do things for free.  Just participate and get involved in anything that is tied to your goal.  You can build a resume, media kit or a portfolio solely off of work that you've done for free.  Plus, when applicable, you will feel more confident having a tangible way to show your vision.
Remember that for whatever it is that you do, there was a time when it was unfamiliar to you.  What else would you add to this list to help us all become the gutsy go-getters that we need to be to accomplish everything??
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

5 Keys to a Fantastic Day

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Morning is the most important part of the day as it sets the tone for the remainder of the day. It is at this time that decisions are made—whether consciously or unconsciously—about the mood or feeling we’ll carry with us, how we will react to the difficulties we may face, and how productively we’ll execute our daily tasks. I like to use my morning routine to set a specific intention each day, for example: focus, balance or productivity. My mornings consist of 5 essential elements that I call my keys to a fantastic day.   

  1. Daily prayers/affirmations – Prayer is the time for speaking. Ask for whatever it is that you will need to get you through the day, whether it is patience, creativity, courage, determination—you know yourself well enough to know what you’ll need in extra doses.
  2. Meditation – Meditation is the time for listening. Spend even as little as 5 minutes per day in silence and gratitude, with an open heart, and you’ll be surprised at the clarity you can achieve.
  3. Exercise – You’ve heard it before: exercising in the morning gives you energy, gears up your metabolism for the day and releases endorphins that help you to be in a great mood. It’s all true.
  4. Vitamins –Take a daily multi-vitamin. Try vitamin E to promote healthy hair, skin and nails. Use Echinacea to promote healthy white blood cells and a strong immune system. Slip a sublingual vitamin B12 for sustained energy throughout the day. The use of supplements works differently for each individual; listen to your body, pay attention to how it operates, so you’ll know what you are in need of and where to supplement.
  5. Breakfast – Having breakfast is the best way to jump start your body and your healthy eating habits for that day. Start with super foods that increase metabolism, help you to feel full and give you energy like fruit, fruit smoothies enhanced with vitamins, proteins and whole grains.
What other simple things do you incorporate into your morning routine to help set the intention for your day?
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pretty Things: What I've Learned About My Natural Hair

When I decided to stop relaxing my hair, I had many ideas about what it would be like to be natural.  Now that I'm about five years into my natural hair journey (that includes transitioning), many of these ideas have been proven quite wrong.  I absolutely love the fullness and versatility of my natural hair.  I expected that and haven't been disappointed.   However, there have been many challenges that I didn't expect! 

1. Just because my hair is not chemically treated does not mean that it will automatically be healthier and grow longer. My hair is naturally thin and dry, so I have to be gentle with it, keep it moisturized and protect it from drying factors like wind, cotton sheets and wool sweaters/coats. When I first decided to go natural, I had this idea that with no chemicals and little heat, my hair would be so strong and resilient that I'd be able to wear it out all the time without any consequences. This is NOT the case. I get single strand knots very easily, which I did not get when I was relaxed, so this is something I didn't anticipate. This leads me to my next discovery.

2. Since my hair is prone to single strand knots, I have to keep my hair stretched most of the time to avoid them. I stretch through banding, braiding and blow drying. Although my favorite style is a twist out with no rollers at the end, my ends do better when they are stretched with a roller. I make sure that I don't blow dry more than once a month, and I keep it on the medium setting. In the summertime, I don't blow dry at all. I hardly get regular split ends at all anymore, which is great. But damaged ends are still damaged ends, so I have to keep certain hairstyles to a minimum to avoid the knots.

3. Protective styling is the best thing I can do for my hair for length and moisture retention. Like I said earlier, I really thought that I'd be able to wear my hair down all the time if I was natural, but that just doesn't work for me. Yeah, I get bored with it sometimes; but since I've been bunning for the past couple of months, my hair has really been thriving, so it's worth it. Plus, I find all kinds of ideas for styles online and it forces me to be creative. There are so many options with natural hair and my hair is now thick enough and textured enough to give me lots of options.

Are you transitioning or already natural? If you have dispelled any myths or made any discoveries on your journey, please share in the comments! Also, if you're experiencing any challenges, let us know.
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Friday, November 19, 2010

Love Notes - Friday 11/19/10

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

All I Really Want is Peace, Love and _____

All I really want is peace, love and the freedom to be limitless.

I look forward to the holidays every year for the traditions and the family time, and of course for the giving and receiving of gifts. Who doesn't? While it's very easy to get caught up in the ads, the sales and the sensationalism of the holidays; I want to redirect your focus a little bit to ask you a question.

What do you want to give yourself this year?

This is a great time to begin reflecting on the past year and thinking about whether or not you've given yourself everything that you deserve. Have you honored your feelings? Have you told yourself how beautiful you are every day? Have you taken steps towards your goals? Why wait around for someone to give you something material that will only give you fleeting satisfaction.

If you are denying yourself of anything at all, now is the time to pull out all the stops and give yourself the best present ever. No one else can give you the joy and confidence that comes from self-love.

I'll share first.

All I really want is Peace, Love and Freedom.

** There is no reason that I should waste a moment on worry or insecurity. I give myself the freedom to live in the light and be myself regardless of how people respond to me.

**I let go of the need to buy things and I embrace the love of creating things.

**I don't need to feel stuck in any situation. I give myself the freedom to create my own path and my own opportunities.

**I give myself the freedom to Dream big. Love big. Give Big. In every corner of my life.

**I let go of guilt and shame. I'm free to travel light and go far. Free to see myself as worthy of every good thing.

**I give myself the freedom to do what I love.

Now your turn to complete the sentence: "All I really want is Peace, Love and ________."

Please share with us in the comments. :)
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Monday, November 15, 2010

Our Tendency to Over-Indulge

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When it comes to food, I have at times stuffed myself too full of a good thing--despite being able to visually identify when there was too much in front of me. Often, when I’ve found something particularly tasty, I have continued to eat, even when my stomach has alerted my brain that it was full. Even though I make primarily healthy food item choices, anything in excess can prove harmful, right?

Do you ever find yourself engaging in similar behavior or feeling like no matter what you do, your actions toward food are counter to your intended health or fitness goals? Over-indulging is so often a result of learned behaviors or habit, more than actual hunger. Many women have ingrained beliefs about food that keep us from meeting our goals:

- We tend to view food as entertainment, tying eating into other activities like watching TV, reading or having time to ourselves.

- We let our emotions dictate our eating patterns; we eat when we celebrate, we eat when we’re sad, we eat when we’re bored, we “treat” ourselves to food as “rewards”, etc.

- We eat out as opposed to making food at home (often for the sake of convenience) and when we eat out, we do our best to consume all of the large portions of food placed in front of us in order to avoid waste.

There are solutions to countering this self-sabotage. Instituting some or all of them could aid in:

- Weight management
- Loss of pounds/inches
- Less bloating/a flatter tummy
- More energy
- Healthier self-image

Some solutions include:

- Eating smaller portions (Erika of The Black Girl’s Guide To Weight Loss offers a fantastic suggestion for doing so here)

- Purchasing groceries and preparing meals and snacks at home, in advance, so as not to be caught off guard and make a poor food choice

- Scheduling meals and snacks (for example, planning to have a small meal/snack every two hours) and sticking to the plan

Most importantly, if we value physical wellness, we have to work to change the way we think and make our behaviors consistent with what we say we want. We have to learn to be responsible with food and to express gratitude for food as a gift of nourishment for our bodies, and not take the abundance of availability of food for granted.


I confuse the Universe when my behavior is counter to my words. Therefore I will train myself to exercise control when consuming food.

I will recognize food as a source of nourishment, designed to keep my body fueled, energized and healthy.

I will refrain from over-indulging—this does not serve me nor does it benefit my body. I cannot perform at the level of my highest self when I am lethargic and heavily weighed down by too much food.
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Friday, November 12, 2010

If You Want to Change Your Life - Start Believing in Yourself

"I found God in myself and I loved her. I loved her fiercely." ~Ntozake Shange
photo credit

As we head into the weekend, I'm continuing to fly high on productive energy. This is what happens when you deliberately surround yourself with like-minded folks and fill your mind with positive thoughts. When I reflect on the past year, the biggest change I've noticed within myself is that somewhere along the way I started believing in myself with the same persistence that I used to doubt myself. I still hear the doubts whispering in my mind, but they are drowned out by the cheering, high-fiving and brainstorming. I feel like I'm finally all in.

Is there something you've been preparing to do forever, but haven't started? Are you waiting for a sign? a four-leaf clover? Are you waiting until you're good enough, financially stable enough, happy enough? If you feel that you're still not ready, the best advice I can give you is to start telling yourself everyday all day that you ARE ready. You've always been ready. You have the tools within you. The only thing you are missing is your own self-approval. You can handle whatever comes your way when you believe in yourself. That's it. How do you start believing in yourself?

Be true to yourself. Attach yourself to the truth of who you are and don't let go. Celebrate your wins. Face your fears. This builds confidence. Don't dwell on your mistakes. Mistakes mean that you are learning. Ask questions. Lots of them. Work hard. Hold yourself accountable. Don't be swayed, manipulated or hoodwinked by negativity. Don't beat yourself up. Celebrate yourself some more. Laugh at yourself. Think of yourself as important and relevant. Picture yourself doing what you want to do and revisit this image often. Believe in it. Feel it. Be patient. Find the value in everything you do. Be your own best friend. Create and share fearlessly. Celebrate. Stay the course. Drown out the haters. Believe. Love the process of becoming. Believe.

What other things can you do to start believing in yourself??

Have a great weekend, dreamers!
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Happy Black Girl Day!

In celebration of Happy Black Girl Day, let's take a moment to be thankful for voices that inspire us, lyrics that give meaning to our emotions, and soulfulness that floats through our speakers and earphones from the beautiful artists featured below. There's nothing like a Happy Black Girl playlist to boost a worn out spirit and redirect negative thinking. When your internal soundtrack is pumping music that supports an inspired outlook, you can't help but feel good and attract good things. If you don't have a Happy Black Girl playlist, create one immediately. Perhaps these tunes will get you started.

Jill Scott - One is the Magic Number

Photo Credit
"So many times I define my pride Through somebody else's eyes
Then I looked inside and found my own stride,
I found the lasting love for me
If I'm searching for my spirituality
Passionately I must begin with me..."

Corinne Bailey Rae - Put Your Records On

Photo credit
"Maybe sometimes, we've got it wrong, but it's alright
The more things seem to change, the more they stay the same
Oh, don't you hesitate.
Girl, put your records on, tell me your favourite song
You go ahead, let your hair down
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams,
Just go ahead, let your hair down..."

Erykah Badu - Didn't Cha Know

Photo credit
"Time to save the world
Where in the world is all the time
So many things I still don't know
So many times I've changed my mind
Guess I was born to make mistakes
But I ain't scared to take the weight
So when I stumble off the path
I know my heart will guide me back..."

India Arie - I Choose

Photo credit
"I done been through some painful things
I thought that I'd never make it through
Filled up with shame from the top of my head to the souls of my shoes
I've put myself in so many chaotic circumstances
By the Grace of God
I've been given so many second chances
But today I decided to let it all go
I'm dropping these bags I'm makin room for my joy..."

Mary J Blige - Just Fine

Photo credit
"I like what I see when I'm looking at me
When I'm walking past the mirror
Don't stress through the night
At a time in my life
Ain't worried bout if you feel it
Got my head on straight, I got my vibe right
I ain't gonna let you kill it..."

For more ways to celebrate Happy Black Girl Day, visit The Beautiful Struggler.
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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Black Girls Rock!

If you somehow missed tonight's presentation of Black Girls Rock on BET, I implore you to find it online or to catch the repeat on Tuesday night at 8pm. Black Girls Rock was a phenomenal celebration of Black women and girls who are lighting up the world with their gifts, giving back to their communities, and just being generally outstanding people.

There were so many amazing Black women in the audience and on stage. Those celebrated, to name just a few, included Iyanla Vanzant, Raven Symone, Keke Palmer and Ruby Dee. I found myself clapping feverishly in my living room at Iyanla's rousing acceptance speech "..Black girls rock because we have no other choice. We have no other choice but to honor our grandmothers and great grandmothers and those who walk and stand in the embodiment, the female flesh form of the Creator. We have a responsibility to rock the world, to rock the community, to rock our families, to rock the planet--so that our grandmothers will know that they did not die in vain!" I almost cried at Ruby Dee's breaking down her legacy presentation to say that part of the word "legacy" is "leg"--and that she hopes to be the leg that the next generation can stand on. I couldn't help but smile at how radiant and beautiful everyone, including host Nia Long, looked. There was a joy that just radiated from the eyes and faces of everyone in the room.

The musical performances were touching as well--including an amazing rendition of Nina Simone's "Four Women" performed by Marsha Ambrosius, Jill Scott, Ledisi and Kelly Price; as well as a version of "I'm Every Woman" that closed out the show. Monica, Keri Hilson and Fantasia sang their hearts out as well.

It would be impossible to target a high point of the show because this was truly just a fantastic presentation from start to finish. It has left me feeling proud, inspired, refreshed, renewed, invigorated and ready to conquer the world! It isn't that Black women didn't already know that we rock, or weren't already secure in our beauty and strength, but instead it is that we loved seeing our fellow Black women being appreciated, loved, and revered by each other. That's the real story of so many Black women in real life. So often our haunting issues are highlighted in film, in music etc--here was a moment where only our beauty and accomplishment were the focal points. And it did not arrive a moment too soon! Thank you so much to Beverly Bond, the founder of Black Girls Rock and to BET for giving us a forum.

I've taken away so many beautiful quotes from the women of Black Girls Rock that need to be shared. I have adopted so many new mantras and affirmations that I’ll continue to carry with me. I hope they speak to you too!

“You can’t take my joy, cause you didn’t give it to me.” ~Monica

“Don’t try to be a special person. You ARE a special person.” ~Marcelite Harris

“Black girls need to be reminded that they rock from the inside out.” ~Iyanla Vanzant

“The world will tell black girls that they can’t rock—that they don’t rock. But a ha! We all know they do.” ~Iyanla Vanzant

“When you grow up being told you’re less than special, you sometimes act less than special.” ~Beverly Bond

"I've been told No more than I've been told Yes. I love being told No. I always say - You're obviously not the person I should be talking to." ~Raven Symone

"I rock because sometimes I'm scared and that's alright. I rock because I'm not afraid to cry. I rock because I'm loved and I'm able to love. I rock...I rock." ~Anika Noni-Rose

“I know enough to know I’m not yet where I’m going to be...I’m always becoming.” ~Ruby Dee

I rock because I’ve learned that where I’m going is more important than where I’ve been, and that everything I’ve done has served me in some capacity. I rock because I’m so hooked on growth and knowledge that I’ll never stop growing and learning. I rock because I’m no longer afraid to be authentic—I rock out loud!

Ladies, why do you rock??
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Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Start of Something New

I step into the unknown and am excited for what's to come!

Photo Credit via google images
It is always exciting when something (or someone) new happens in our lives. The pleasure and the giddy anticipation of what could be tickle our fancies and send our imaginations running wild. This mostly serves to increase our enjoyment and sends positive energy into the situation, but there comes a moment where we stop enjoying and start wondering… “Where is this going?”…and this is often the moment where fear and judgment set in. We begin to question, label, and judge every aspect of the situation, wanting to determine if it is “good” or “bad”, “right” or “wrong”. We start to nitpick and analyze and over-analyze instead of remaining present. What we really need to be focusing on is being open to receive understanding about exactly what it is that we need to learn from this new thing. If our vision is clouded with doubt, uncertainty or frustration, we’ll fail to see clearly what we have in front us. We have to remain open so that we can enjoy the journey; so that we can recognize opportunities when they are presented; so that we can receive what Life is sending us through this assignment.

When you find yourself panicking over the future (or how you wish things would go, or feel they are supposed to go) try gently reminding yourself to be at peace, because the Universe has already worked this thing out on your behalf.


I will enjoy this great thing without having to label it.

I trust that the Universe has my back, and that there is a vision for my future that is beyond what I can grasp with my understanding.

I accept this assignment with gratitude and vow to complete it with grace.

I will revel in the delicious ambiguity of what lies ahead.

I move bravely forward and refuse to concede to fear.

I forgive myself for doubting Life's good intentions for my journey.

I release the need to need anything beyond what God has already placed inside me.
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Monday, November 1, 2010

Pretty Things: Winterize Yourself Inside and Out

originally posted on Curly Nikki on 10/22/2009:

When your inner and outer energies radiate in harmony, you are blessed and spiritually magnetic. ~Jasmine Heiler

As the temperature drops and the layers of clothing increase, every woman must go through a change in their beauty routine to prepare for the cold months ahead. If you know like I know, a beauty routine is not just about creams, oils and powders. If you don't have a regimen for inner beauty as well, your skin will not glow and your hair will not shine with the true brilliance that comes from a healthy spirit. Periodically, it is essential to connect with your body and soul to seek out your hidden needs and develop a plan to meet those needs. The change in seasons presents an ideal opportunity to do just that. With the many responsibilities and challenges that women face, Lord knows that if we don't slate this time to care for ourselves, our needs will quietly fall by the wayside along with our peace of mind and eventually our feminine allure. Call me greedy, but I need to maintain my peace AND my allure in order to feel like my freshest most super-charged self!

So, how do we maintain a warm and glowing aura through the long, cold winter? Below I have provided some tips to help you prepare the goddess that you are for the upcoming season.

Winter skin requires more TLC because of dry air and low humidity. Use a moisturizing soap and remember to exfoliate because dead skin cells are even more abundant on dry skin. Using an oil-based moisturizer, lather yourself from head to toe daily when you are still damp from the shower to lock in the moisture. At night, anoint your feet and sleep in a pair of footies to stay soft through the winter. Use a humidifier at night to create a dewy environment for your skin and hair. Your nasal passages will also thank you.

Winter brings harsh winds, wool coats, sweaters and hats i.e. torment for your precious locks. It's up to you to be proactive about preventing seasonal damage. Line your wool hats with silk or satin to avoid breakage. When you are wearing a wool sweater, where your hair pinned up or in a bun. Avoid leaving the house with wet hair that could freeze in the low temps and cause serious breakage. Easy on the hots! Heat styling makes the hair more susceptible to damage from the cold and wind. Speaking of wind, protect those tresses. Wear your hair up or under a hat to avoid the tangling that results from the wind going blow for blow with your hair. Condition, moisturize and protect. Opt for the thicker, creamier deep conditioners. Use moisturizers that truly absorb into the hair like coconut and avocado oil. Implement protein and/or henna treatments to strengthen your hair against the elements.

!Biased Plug ~ Winter is a great time to start transitioning! If you've been toying with the idea of growing out your relaxer, go for it. Winter air is dry and the winds are unforgiving, so the weather lends itself well to protective styles like braid-outs, twist-outs and roller sets which are ideal for transitioning to natural ~ End Biased Plug!

The winter blues are partially caused by the body not producing enough serotonin, the hormone that affects a person's state of mind. When you exercise, your body produces more serotonin and thus improves your mood. If you don't currently have an exercise routine, start off with low impact exercises, such as tai chi, yoga or deep breathing. Yoga, especially, has been shown to be very effective in dealing with depression because the focus and concentration help you reconnect with your mind and spirit in such an enlightening way. Many people think they could never do yoga because they are not flexible. I would argue that the beautiful thing about yoga is that each pose has a variation that is appropriate for your level of flexibility and strength. Find a beginner's class and get your downward facing dog on. One of the disciplines of yoga is no judgment, so don't worry about anyone staring or snickering if you can't hold a pose.

Winter depression or "Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that tends to occur (and recur) as the days grow shorter in the fall and winter. It is believed that affected persons react adversely to the decreasing amounts of light and the colder temperatures as the fall and winter progress." things up! Increase the amount of light in your home and wake up earlier to spend more of your waking hours in the daylight. Like exercise, light also stimulates the level of serotonin in the body. With night falling so early in the winter, it's no wonder that our disposition begins to mirror the darkness. Journal your thoughts and feelings and take action if you notice a trend towards melancholy feelings. Make time for quiet meditation and prayer. Do some soul searching. Reflect on where you are right now and where you want to go. Let go of past mistakes and look forward to new opportunities. Allow the beautiful evolution of the seasons happening around you to inspire a beautiful evolution inside of you.

Don't let the winter blues sneak up on you! Do something interesting and creative, even if you think it's outside of your character. Keep yourself busy with activities and adventures. Sign up for that cooking or art class that you've been wanting to take. Find a book that challenges your way of thinking. Further your education. Take on a new challenge at work. Make it something that scares you a little bit. Find the personal value in stepping out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself. When your mind is consumed with something new and exciting, you have less time to be preoccupied with sadness and doubt.

Have you given thought to how your routines will change for the winter? Please share your tips with us below.
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